Democrats & Liberals Archives

Where Do We Stand On This?

It is a rare occasion when you hear anybody whose Democrat or Republican saying we’ve got to pull out of Iraq. It’s rare to hear from either side that the Fight against Terrorism is not worth winning. It’s ever rarer to hear people from either party badmouthing the troops.

So, essentially, few are for ending the war before we’ve won, few are for not defeating the terrorists, and few are criticizing the troops out there in harm’s way. What are the arguments about this war really about?

To me, it's about knowing where I stand. Am I on the same page as my president, as my representatives in the Congress and Senate, when they call me and my fellow citizens to war? That's a big part of why the justifications for war are so important. If we cannot depend on our government to tell us why they're putting their fellow citizens in harms way, why should we trust them with that decision? Only in a dictatorship or a communist government can such deception be justified. In a democracy, such clouding of the truth is a rebellion of the government against its own people.

To play games with the truth is to reserve powers to themselves that they have not earned from the people, to do as they please, and not as the people would have them do.

While it's true that there are facts people don't understand, due to a lack of experience or study, there are ways to bring people up to speed, to give them the gist, even if the details would be beyond the grasp of most. One can be an elite in terms of training, without becoming an elitist in one's politics. People are not incapable of understanding many of the advanced concepts by which our policies are run. They just don't have the groundwork to understand it completely.

If one can relate the crucial details, the details that are closest to what they need to know, we can preserve the freedom that comes from having the correct information to judge our country's correct direction. Otherwise, freedom comes under the shadow of ignorance.

There are those who would prefer that we not know, while they do. There are those who would prefer that we not acknowledge things like the addictiveness of tobacco, the potential for climate change from the huge volume of CO2 that we are releasing, the chemicals coming into our ecosystem, or the way a military conflict is going. They would prefer we either not know, or not care. But regardless, the events that unfold have their effect, and if the truth has become a casualty of the interests of the powerful, folks will suffer for that deception, that massaging of the truth.

Deception is easier than putting oneself out on a limb. When we grow comfortable with the rationalizations of those in power, we put ourselves at the mercy of their work ethic. Politicians can talk forever while our world falls apart, while our health suffers, and while we are cheated and impoverished under the cloak of their deception. Those who have become more loyal to their fortunes and their power will not act until their own interests are threatened.

By that time, it might be too late. Believe what you will, my readers, but fight to keep your politicians accountable to you and your interests, and to keep yourself as informed as you can manage it. Knowledge is not only power, it is freedom, the freedom to solve our problems in novel and (most importantly) successful ways. It is the freedom to live our lives safely and in prosperity.

Believe what you will, but don't just think for yourself. Find out for yourself, because the freedom to determine your own opinion is nothing without the capability to find the facts to wisely form that opinion, and act in your own interests.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2005 9:52 AM